The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) welcomed a policy agreement reached by global semiconductor industry leaders at the 23rd annual meeting of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) this week in Xiamen, China. The agreement sets forth policy proposals to strengthen the industry through greater international cooperation. The WSC is a worldwide body of semiconductor industry executives from China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, Japan, Korea, and the United States that meets annually to address issues of global concern to the semiconductor industry. Recommendations from this year’s meeting are included in the 2019 WSC Joint Statement. SIA represents U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research.
“With global trade tensions on the rise and an urgent need for government policies that promote open markets and innovation, cooperation within the global semiconductor value chain is critical to the success of our industry,” said Keith Jackson, president, CEO, and director of ON Semiconductor and 2019 SIA vice chair. “The recommendations agreed to by the WSC this week urge governments to adopt policies that will promote free and fair trade, spur economic growth, expand consumers’ access to technology, and strengthen the global semiconductor industry for years to come.”
The WSC this week reaffirmed one of its core missions: to ensure government assistance in the semiconductor sector is transparent and not market-distorting. The WSC committed to continuing dialogue with relevant governments to promote fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory practices related to government-supported programs.
The WSC also reiterated its commitment to a tariff-free environment for semiconductors and high-tech products. As part of this effort, the WSC called for the inclusion of commitments to join the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and the expanded ITA in all trade agreements to which their governments are parties, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) e-commerce negotiations. The expanded ITA, which took effect on July 1, 2016, covers an estimated $1.3 trillion in global sales of tech products and eliminates tariffs on new and innovative semiconductor products, including multi-component semiconductors (MCOs). The WSC also supported the continuous extension of the WTO ban on customs duties for electronic transmissions and data flows.
In addition to the action taken on government support programs and tariff elimination, industry leaders in attendance advanced policy discussions and developed recommendations in the following areas:
- Protection of Intellectual Property: Supporting efforts to further strengthen the protection of trade secrets and improve patent quality.
- Customs Classification: Ensuring consistent treatment of semiconductors in the World Customs Organization (WCO) effort to update its customs classification system, known as the Harmonized System.
- Encryption: Ensuring open global market access for commercial encryption products by advocating for WSC encryption principles to be included in trade agreements being negotiated or contemplated by WSC governments/authorities.
- Environment, Safety and Health: Continuing efforts to reduce the industry’s emissions of PFCs (perfluorocompound) and highlighting the industry’s successful efforts to manage chemicals used in semiconductor manufacturing.
The meeting also featured a panel discussion with invited experts on autonomous vehicles and implications for the semiconductor industry in terms of technology development, policy, and opportunities for industry growth.
Industry officials from the six regions represented in the WSC will deliver policy recommendations to an annual meeting of their governments set to take place in the United States in October. This meeting provides an opportunity for industry to convey the importance of implementing the recommendations and explore areas of mutual interest with governments worldwide.
“The World Semiconductor Council is a valuable forum – unmatched by other sectors – committed to ensuring policies that foster fairness and openness, not isolationism and protectionism, win the day,” said John Neuffer, SIA president and CEO. “The initiatives set forth this week will strengthen global trade and economic growth while benefiting governments, businesses, and consumers the world over.”
Download the 2019 WSC Joint Statement.
For more information on the Semiconductor Industry Association, visit www.semiconductors.org.
For more information on the World Semiconductor Council, visit www.semiconductorcouncil.org.